Children’s Program Gets an Update

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A new season brings a new feeling to the Safe Haven Shelter’s Children’s Program.

What was once referred to as the “playroom” has been in transition creating a structured Learning Center for the children who call shelter home. With new paint covering the walls, the space is now divided into three different areas; the craft space, the dramatic play area, and the reading corner.

The defined spaces allow children to be creative, learn, and play. The craft area is complete with two children sized tables, hand washing station, and places for children to display their artwork for all to see. From a kitchen playset to building blocks, the dramatic play area offers a wide array of hands-on activities for kids of all ages. A cozy reading nook offers a space for kids to curl up on a soft chair and read a book. This unique space also offers a creative learning wall, as well. The wall is complete with a monthly calendar that includes the weather forecast, the days of the week, numbers, months, temperatures and seasons, and the top of the wall is lined with the alphabet for a wide variety of learning opportunities. The wall rounds off with a chalk board along the bottom to allow children to put their knowledge to the test in a creative and fun way.

The new children’s Learning Center offers children of all ages an educational and fun experience to explore different ways to express what they’re going through on a day-to-day basis. Whether they want to do some arts and crafts, play pretend, or read a book, the learning center can provide them with almost anything they could imagine.

Indoor fun isn’t the only thing being offered for the children this summer, either. The new summer program is complete with a weekly schedule to provide some fun throughout the long summer days.

The weekly schedule is composed of different themed days, Monday through Friday: science, baking, arts and crafts, field trip, and beach day. With providing children with science, baking, and arts and crafts, they will be able to keep busy and have some creative learning time while having a blast with friends. Field trip days include a variety of trips including rocking climbing, kayaking, the zoo, aquarium, Tom’s Logging Camp, Enger Tower, and a Huskies game. And no summer would be complete without a beach day for those hot summer days! Beach days are not just a trip to park point every Friday—the children have opportunities to see the many different water sources we have around the Northland, including a trip to Gooseberry Falls, Brighton Beach, Pike Lake, and Island Lake.

With a packed summer of fun, we look forward to sharing these changes with the children we serve. At the end of the day, their happiness validates all of our hard work.

Safe Haven Children are Shining Brite

Imagine being a child and growing up in a home where there is name calling, violence, being told you are worthless, hearing someone tell your mom she doesn’t deserve to live.

Your day-to-day choices no longer center on what toy you want to play with or what mom might make for dinner. Instead you use all your energy to think about your actions, tiptoe to not get in anyone’s way, and say whatever you need to say, truth or lie, to help keep peace in the home. You have to make a choice between protecting your mom or choosing to side with an abusive adult to protect yourself.

This is a reality many children face.

Safe Haven is always looking for innovative ways to help battered women and children. We are excited to announce our newest programming for children, “Shine Brite Day Camp.” Safe Haven’s Shine Brite Day Camp is a “free” week long day camp for children who have been exposed to domestic violence. The vision of the camp is to help children find their sense of self, build confidence and overcome trauma. Shine Brite provides guidance and activities to help kids heal with the support of adult volunteers in a fun and safe environment.

It’s important for children who have experienced trauma in their lives to feel safe, have an opportunity to express themselves and just be kids. Campers have the opportunity to participate in art therapy, crafts, self-esteem building activities, and outdoor confidence building activities such as canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, equine therapy, and other activities.

Thank you to Verizon for making this camp possible for children! Verizon’s continued support for domestic violence services has allowed Safe Haven to expand their services to areas of need identified by survivors. We are fortunate to have their support which has made this camp for children a reality.

Anyone interested in “Shine Brite” should contact the Safe Haven Resource Center (218) 623-1000.

Safe Haven Announces Shine Brite Day Camp for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence


Safe Haven announced today a new summer day camp (Summer 2015) for children exposed to domestic violence in the Duluth community, thanks to funding and support from HopeLine® from Verizon.

Shine Brite Day Camp will help children find their sense of self, build confidence, and overcome trauma. With the support of adult volunteers in a fun and safe environment, Shine Brite will provide guidance and activities to help kids heal.

“We are pleased to provide these camps to provide healing activities for children to use during and after the camps, thanks to the grant from Verizon,” said Susan Utech, Safe Haven Executive Director. Children will have the opportunity to participate in art therapy, crafts, self-esteem building activities, and outdoor confidence building activities such as canoeing, rock climbing and hiking. Campers will also have the opportunity to rebuild trust with authority figures such as police and “just be kids” with other children who have had similar experiences.

Shine Brite Day Camp will be based at the Safe Haven Resource Center, located at 414 West 1st Street in Duluth, with trips provided to various community sites. Children in 2nd through 11th grade who have been exposed to domestic violence are encouraged to participate at no cost. Camp Weeks are June 8-12 (Grades 2-6), June 22-26 (Grades 7-11), July 6-10 (Grades 2-6), July 20-24 (Grades 7-11), August 3-7 (Grades 2-6), and August 17-21 (Grades 7-11). Camp is one week Monday through Friday and can accommodate up to 10 kids per week. Parents should contact the Safe Haven Resource Center at 218-623-1000 to find out more and to register your child(ren) for Shine Brite Day Camp.

Shine Brite Press Release

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Safe Haven Launches New Website

Out with the old, in with the new.

Technology moves quickly and we are well-aware of this fact here at Safe Haven. That’s why at the beginning of the year, we decided that our website needed an update if we were going to continue to effectively connect to the people who use it.

Working with Swim Creative, we developed a website that is geared towards two main audiences: those who use our services and those who support our work. We have cleaned up the primary navigation to four basic categories to filter these audiences more effectively.

Another big factor in the redesign was making our website more visual and engaging. By adding turquoise elements and photos to our former basic red and white color scheme, this helped to warm it up and make it more visually appealing. We’ve also added more links and prompts throughout the site to connect people to related content.

Additionally, our site is now mobile-friendly! This was definitely on our must-have list for the redesign and we hope that you will find this feature beneficial.

Enjoy using our new website! We are very proud of it and extremely thankful for all the help we received from Swim Creative during its development and implementation. It was a great team effort!

$25k Grant from Verizon to Fund New Program


Today Safe Haven announced the launch of our new Client Connection Program!

The Program will be implemented at the Safe Haven Resource Center, at 414 W. 1st Street in Duluth, where a new full-time Client Connection Coordinator will ensure victims receive the services they need to rebuild their lives with a single point of contact. The new position is made possible by a $25,000 grant from the HopeLine® program from Verizon.

The Client Connection Coordinator will get to know the clients, their situations and be a familiar face for those seeking assistance with intimate details of their life. It will also allow Resource Center Advocates to stay connected with each person and ensure that their legal advocacy needs are tied to their long-term needs and goals. The Client Connection Program is the achievement of a long-held vision to initiate and maintain long-term contacts with clients, engage them in services and offer support to continue a life free from violence.

We are so grateful for Verizon’s contribution to this new program which will help us to better serve victims of domestic violence in our community.

“Still I Rise” Benefit Concert

Still I Rise PosterOn April 5th, the College of St. Scholastica hosted a choir concert entitled “Still I Rise: Songs and Stories of Struggle and Strength” with proceeds benefiting Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center.

The concert, which featured three collegiate women’s choirs from the College of St. Scholastica, the College of St. Benedict and the University of Northwestern—St. Paul, included songs of hope and empowerment, as well as a personal story of survival from one of the women we’ve served.

Leading up to the event, Safe Haven’s Community Education Coordinator had the chance to speak to each of the three choirs about healthy and unhealthy relationships. The presentations touched on red flags of abuse, the importance of establishing personal boundaries and how to seek and refer others to help in their communities.

We’d like to thank Minnesota Power for sponsoring this event, Bret Amundson at the College of St. Scholastica for approaching us with this opportunity and all of the attendees and donors that showed up to support us. It takes an entire community to combat domestic violence, and we could not provide the services that we do without your vital support.

Live Free Without Violence Flag Campaign

Live Free Without Violence Flag October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and this year, the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) has launched a new statewide campaign on October 1st to raise awareness about domestic violence in Minnesota.

The Live Free Without Violence flag campaign originally began in Germany and since 2001, the flag has been distributed around the world to promote awareness of violence against women. The MCBW has adopted the flag and has decided to focus the campaign on Minnesotans killed in domestic violence situations. The flag was first flown around the state during the first week of October to kick-off the campaign, and is meant to be flown for one week whenever there is a domestic violence-related homicide in Minnesota.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate in the Live Violence Free Flag Campaign. Safe Haven flies its flag at the Resource Center downtown, and we would love to see more flags around the city and on social media to honor the victims and raise awareness about domestic violence in Minnesota.

Flags and lawn signs are available for purchase. Once you make your purchase, you will be added to an email list that will notify you whenever a femicide occurs in Minnesota. It will also tell you when to display your flag and when to take it down.

If you are interested in participating in the campaign with us, contact Becky Smith at or visit

To receive updates on the campaign, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

35th Anniversary: Share your memories

Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center will be celebrating its 35th anniversary on March 1, 2013. Help us commemorate this milestone by lending your voice to the Safe Haven story. We’re collecting stories and photos from survivors, volunteers and staff to share with our e-community. Please take a few moments to share your memories or photos – you may remain anonymous if you prefer.

Safe Haven Announces New Board Members

“Safe Haven is honored to welcome Judyth Babst, Debra Ann Cervenka and Melissa Kadlec as new board members. Each one brings a wealth of experience in serving their communities that will enhance our efforts to serve battered women. We look forward to working with them during their terms on the board,” says Susan Utech, Executive Director of Safe Haven.

Melissa Kadlec  is Marketing Manager at Citon Computer Corp. Kadlec’s successful career includes positions with Charter Communications as a marketing and public relations manager and Executive Director of Duluth Sister Cities International. She is a graduate of St. Cloud State University.  Kadlec has been an active member of the Duluth community serving on various boards including the Duluth-Växjö Soccer Exchange, Duluth Legacy Endowment Fund & Duluth Art Institute and Duluth Sister Cities International.

Debra Ann Cervenka  was an officer and on the Board of Directors of Phillips Plastics Corporation, serving as Executive Vice President, responsible for Marketing, Sales and People Services until the Cervenkas sold the company in December 2010.  She has dedicated the past eight years to non-profit work and currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy – Wisconsin Chapter, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Northland College, Chair of the Philanthropy Committee – Ecumen, and serves on the Board of Visitors of the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Wisconsin.

Judyth Babst  is a co-founder and board member of the Duluth Girls Hockey Association and volunteer at Hartley Nature Center.  Babst graduated from the University Of Minnesota with a BS in Occupational Therapy. She has worked with St Luke’s Home Health Care, Duluth Public Schools and Northern Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. An outdoors enthusiast and avid gardener, she is currently a member of three garden clubs (Longview, Unitarian Universalist, and Wild Ones). 

The three new members join a fourteen-member board that oversees Safe Haven’s finances, strategic planning, policies and practices.